The favourite food for a coach roach is the glue on envelopes and the back of books and postage stamps. A coach roach can hold its breath for up to 40 minutes. Some females mate once and are pregnant the rest of their lives! They rest for 75 percent of each day. Young roaches only need a crack about 0.5mm wide to crawl into your house. Males can squeeze into a space 1.6 mm. A coach roach can live up to a month without a head. Most come from tropical countries and therefore need to be kept at 25 degrees centigrade to survive. The world’s largest roach is six inches long with a one foot wingspan.
The male roach can transfer sperm to the females in a package called a spermatophore. Males cover the package in a protein rich wrapping that the female can eat to obtain nutrients for the young. Females prefer the males at the bottom of the social order while the dominant males stop them from getting their way. When females do mate with lower ranking roaches they produce fewer sons in an effort to avoid passing on his lower genes. Roaches are fast and can run up to 3km an hour. There is estimated to be around 4,000-5,000 species of roaches in the world. Only 25-30 are considered pests. The rest like the Giant Burrowing Roach are clean and slow moving and even kept as pets!
The American roach originated in North Africa and reached the Americas during the slave trade. They are sometimes called water bugs in the U.S. The Madagascar hissing roach is large and wingless and males ram into each other with their horns and push each other with their stomachs! The larger males usually win. The winner hiss more than the losers. The hisses of males contain information about the size of the male hissing and may be used to assess the opponent’s size. The hisses can be heard 5m away! Apparently roaches that are crushed can be applied to stinging wounds to help relieve pain! A man in England named Ken Edwards at 36 roaches in one minute!
All American roaches were immigrants. They wear their skeletons on the outside of their bodies. Roaches bleed white blood! Roaches chew sideways! Roaches have 6 legs and 18 knees! Roaches can go without eating for a month but not without water. Roaches will shed their skeletons when they outgrow them.